I lost my mom on Thursday, May 5th, to a two and a half year battle with cancer. The journey was long, but finally came to an end only three days before Mother's Day. In the weeks leading up to her death, we had a ballpark idea of when we would lose her. There it sat like a huge black cloud on the horizon, "Mother's Day". I wondered if she'd make it, and got anxious about what gift to get her that wouldn't be too morbid. I thought it would be naive to get her one of my usual go-tos: a fashionable top or a massage, knowing she probably wouldn't have a chance to use it. I told all my friends that if I lost her before Mother's Day, I would absolutely take a Xanax or an Ambien and lock myself in a dark room all day sleeping. I would methodically deactivate my facebook the night before, awaken the day of only to answer the door for thai food, and spend my day pretty much hating everything. Like the good friends they are, they smiled and nodded and completely encouraged this choice.
Mother's Day came around after she was gone, and I wasn't sure what to do. The funeral was the next day, and I volunteered to host shiva, so I had a lot of errands to run with my sister. By 10am, I had been up for two hours and realized I hadn't deactivated my facebook. In fact, I found myself scrolling through my newsfeed looking at beautiful old and new photos of my best friends' moms. I saw moms with huge smiles, moms with stoic wisdom, moms with hilarious eighties haircuts, and moms with chic bobs a la Anna Wintour. I waited to feel the rage I had anticipated. I thought I would sob all over my computer and yell obscenities at all the happy faces on the screen. However, I felt far more compelled to like photos and write comments. "She looks beautiful!" "Same smile." "Hope you're having a wonderful day!"
My mom wasn't the kind of lady to sit around and mope. Even towards the end of her days on this Earth, she didn't waste time being angry or sad. Rather, she enjoyed her time with her family and friends, always finding time to goof around and laugh. So there I was, encouraging all the moms on facebook when I had the revelation that it just wouldn't be appropriate to be angry that day. It wouldn't honor my mom to sit around and be bitter, avoiding the sunlight. Later in the day, I put on an outfit I liked and walked outside to pick up my sister. The wind blew through my hair as my arm dangled out the window while I blasted happy music, and that felt right to me. I heard my mom's voice in my head a lot that day, and I'm not sure if it's because I knew her so well that I knew what she'd say, or if she had actually already figured out how to talk to me from the other side. (The woman taught herself how to do everything from mowing a lawn to installing new tile in the bathroom-- I wouldn't put it past her.) But there I was, finding happiness on a sad day, because losing her didn't matter; I wasn't angry at everyone else who still had their moms with them, because I remembered how lucky I was that my mom was and always will be mine.